WITH music, dancers and a glittering dragon, it’s the annual event that fills the city with colour.

Every year thousands of people flock to Southampton to see in the Chinese New Year.

Lion dancers usually join jazz musicians, martial artists and Cantonese opera singers at the annual event.

But there will be no celebration this year.

The Chinese Association of Southampton, which organises the event, says it cannot afford to hold it due to a lack of cash, and it needs all its funds to keep the group going this year.

Previously it received money from Southampton City Council towards the costs, but that has been cut as the authority tries to make savings.

As a result, last year the group had to pay for it all itself, adding thousands to its annual costs.

Now it says it cannot afford to pay for the event this year and maintain its other activities in 2014.

The costs included paying for a stage and expenses for performers who come from across the south.

Association chairman Joe Hon said: “We have been lucky with funding in the past and we have been able to get enough money for the celebration, but the grounds for council funding have got stricter and there is less money to go around.”

He added: “We want to give ourselves a break financially and we need to start looking for new ideas for future events.

“We are already starting to think about what we can do next year.

“We’re working to get that money for next year and hoping some of the retailers will help us.”

But while a large-scale celebration of the Year of the Horse will not go ahead, the Waterside Lion Dance group, a regular performer at the celebration, said it will still hold the traditional Chinese lion dance.

The 15-minute display will take place outside WestQuay on Sunday.

Ricky Tang, who runs the group, said: “We’re doing it as a favour and because we’ve done it every year.

“We are a bit disappointed the main event isn’t taking place but we want to create an atmosphere and do our best.

“It’s Chinese New Year and we want children to see it, otherwise they will have to travel to Chinatown in London.”

Southampton City Council was unavailable to comment.

In place of the normal celebration, The Chinese Association of Southampton is holding a sold-out fundraising event at Kams Palace Chinese Restaurant in Park Gate on February 4, which Southampton mayor Cllr Ivan White will be attending.